Dear Ann Cannon • I have a toxic boss. I think ultimately the best decision for me is to move on to another job. But besides this woman, the job is actually perfect for me. I’ve been there for almost a decade. And there are not a lot of options for the specific type of work I do in the state of Utah. I want to do a good job at work and enjoy my job, but instead I’m pretty much sick to my stomach every day because I have to deal with this person. Any suggestions for dealing with manipulative people at work who seem to genuinely want to hurt their co-workers?
— Deeply Unhappy
Dear Unhappy • Ugh. I’m sorry. I know from experience that there’s nothing worse than showing up day after day for a job that on some level makes you miserable.
OK. When I first read your question, I mentally tried to identify some strategies that would help you deal with your bad boss, thus allowing you to keep a job for which you’re otherwise well-suited. But after sharing your situation with two friends of mine, I decided to change my response. One of these friends is a longtime therapist. The other has had an extensive career in management. Both of them readily agreed that, if possible, you should start looking for another job.
Because your boss — that person who is in a position of power over you — isn’t likely to change, which means your office culture isn’t likely to change, either. She’ll just go right on hurting you and your co-workers, and you’ll just go right on feeling sick to your stomach every morning when you roll out of bed.
Finding another job is way, way, WAY easier said than done. We all know that. But maybe making a decision to move on might introduce a more fulfilling range of new possibilities in your life. You never know.
Dear Ann Cannon • I’m struggling to find the law on this, but it’s gotta exist because I see the same thing happening whenever I’m on the road. There seems to be a law in place for drivers that I didn’t learn when taking my driver’s test. It’s that if a driver sees you have your blinker on, they must do their very best to SPEED UP to stop you from switching lanes. Similarly, I can’t find the law that states all drivers with superiority complexes must find the smallest gap between two cars and merge into it WITHOUT signaling. Is this law only for BMW drivers and the others who follow their lead? Please, Ann Cannon, if you can help me track down where these laws are, I’d appreciate it.
— Seeking Enlightenment
Dear Seeking • I have three words for you: Welcome. To. Utah.
Dear Tribune Readers • Meanwhile, a number of you took exception to my advice to “Keeper of Neighborhood Secrets,” which was that he stay out of his neighbors’ dog drama. One reader told me I had really “screwed the pooch,” dog pun obviously intended. Others suggested that by not selling out the neighbor with the German shepherd, I was unintentionally selling out the other neighbor. Here are a few other comments:
A good option would be telling the German shepherd owner that if she doesn’t start cleaning up after her dog, you will inform the other neighbor who it is. That way she’ll be aware of what the consequences will be if she continues, so there is less of a chance of her feeling she’s been sold out.
Go to PetSmart, buy a bag of doggy doodoo bags, hand them to the neighbor with a detailed direction slip about how to use them, and say, “Pick up your own !#%!?”
Nobody suggested I place a bag of business on the German shepherd owner’s front porch and light a match.
At least not in writing.
Kids, I haven’t loved all my jobs. But I gotta say I love this one.